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Loeries 2020 Awards Judging Commences

More than 175 regional and international judges will be judging more than double the submissions received when compared to the previous year for the Loeries. This further adds to the usual excitement felt during this annual highlight on the creative calendar. 

The team of esteemed international Jury Presidents – who will be the Jury overall and provide insights during the Creative Week, are:

  • Film – Swati Bhattacharya, one of only 8 women who form part of the 100 most award-winning chief creative officers in the world. She was awarded the Creative professional of the Year by ET Now ‘Stars of the Industry’ Awards. She was the Jury chair at CLIO 2017 and Athena Awards. Under her leadership, FCB Ulka won 50 awards including 4 Cannes Lions, Clio gold, D&AD yellow pencil and a Spikes Grand Prix for #NoConditionsApply – Sindoor Khela.
  • Live, PR & OOH and Integrated – Dennis Lüeck is the most awarded creative in Switzerland and the current Swiss Advertiser of the Year, and Chief Creative Officer and co-owner of Jung von Matt/Limmat, which has now topped Switzerland’s creative rankings table for three years in a row.
  • Radio – Nicholas Hulley, Executive Creative Directors of AMV BBDO, is responsible for genre-bending, culture-shaping work along with his creative partner. His work has won multiple Cannes Grand Prix’s and Titanium’s as well as a D&AD Black Pencil. His joint-work is displayed in the permanent collections of the British Museum and the Design Museum.
  • Design – Katherina Tudball, Creative Director, Superunion London. Tudball’s passionate advocacy for diversity in creativity has been recognised by D&AD’s members, who elected her to the Board of Trustees in 2016. She has been awarded two silver Cannes Lions for her work on Shakespeare’s Globe as well as a D&AD yellow pencil and a silver Cannes Lion for rebranding BBC2.
  • Digital – Alan Kelly, CCO of Rothco, where he has served in various roles over the past 10 years. Kelly has won Cannes Lions (including a prestigious Grand Prix), D&AD and One Show pencils and Grand Clios. He has also judged at Cannes Lions, D&AD, Dubai Lynx, LIAs, One Show, & Clios.

Award-winning creative leaders from across the region, who form part of the Loeries 2020 panels include Lanre Adisa, CEO & Chief Creative Officer of Noah’s Ark (Nigeria), Fran Luckin, Chief Creative Officer of Grey Africa (South Africa) and Kalpesh Patankar, Chief Creative Officer of VML Y&R (MENA).

CEO of the Loeries Preetesh Sewraj said, ‘The judging panels represent a strong group of diverse individuals who have served the brand communication industry through a mix of innovation and challenging the boundaries of the industry. Their work has moved not just brand communication but society forward. Now they will be working to uncover the work that will serve as inspiration for further industry and societal innovation.’

Judging takes place from September to November, with the results announced daily during Loeries Creative Week from 16 to 20 November.  Tickets sales opened on 21 September 2020. Book and pay for your early bird ticket from www.loeries.com to get the benefit of these and many more fine speakers.


Husqvarna Partners With ‘The Beast’ In First Ever Brand Campaign

As South Africans begin to emerge from one of their most challenging periods to date, Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira offers them an empowering message of their own resilience, of their strength, and their ability to triumph over adversity. Chosen as brand ambassador for Husqvarna South Africa, The Beast is taking them all to task in a powerful new brand advertisement. 

In a display of his extraordinary physical and mental grit, his story reminds people that no journey comes without rough terrain. Similarly, perseverance, tenacity and power are words that underpin Husqvarna’s own ethos. 

Creative director Maria Bronzin, from Durban’s Studio 031, had a clear objective with the visuals for Husqvarna’s very first brand advertisement.Husqvarna is all about state-of-the-art outdoor equipment, and it was easy to parallel Beast’s own physical prowess with these powerful machines, which in real-time was quite awesome to watch. The production was shot at night, just after the last lifting of lockdown, with Covid-19 protocols in place, and major time constraints, not to mention some of the remarkable physical exertions required of Beast.’

The shoot posed many hurdles of its own, a fitting backdrop to Beast’s baritone voiceover, instructing viewers to see ‘possibilities’ over ‘problems’. ‘We decided to launch the brand campaign at this particular moment since it has been such a testing time for everyone, on both a local and global scale,’ explained Jenna Robinson, regional marketing manager for Husqvarna Africa.

She added, ‘The story we had to tell was about resilience and reliability, delivered through this visual that has such resonance for us all, not just the industries we service. Husqvarna is committed to benefitting both the industries and the homeowners we support through our sustainable innovations. We have a number of programmes and products that speak to that commitment.’

Husqvarna is reminded too, of the heroic role the media has played more recently in empowering South Africans with knowledge and information, vital in navigating the unchartered road ahead to rebuilding our economies, and our spirits. Husqvarna South Africa’s poignant new brand advert reminds viewers of their potential to be heroes.   


Industry Interview: Michael Gullan On Growing Up With An Extreme Love Of Advertising

Michael Gullan.

In our exclusive Modern Marketing Industry interview series, the founder and CEO of G&G Digital and G&G Advocacy, Michael Gullan, discusses his 31-year long career in advertising, industry transformation, his favourite campaigns, and more.

Early life

Gullan was introduced to the industry when he was four years old. ‘I used to play in the studio of my dad’s advertising agency, so I literally grew up in the business.

 In those days, they used to make up ads using Letraset, literally scratching characters onto a piece of cardboard to make up a print ad. Everyone had long hair and smoked a lot in the studio,’ he said. Because of this background, Gullan grew up with an extreme love of advertising.

He started in the industry fairly soon after he left school, and has spent 31 years in the industry in various roles and positions. ‘I have worked on the client side and the agency side. So it has been a real privilege for me to build a career that allows me to understand the mindsets and the needs of my clients, because for a long time I was a client.’

Industry-related changes

‘The first and most important change has been the transformation of our industry, where our cultures and our beautiful minds and opinions come together to create really amazing advertising that speaks to every citizen.’

Other notable changes are the evolution of digital internet data, the power of social media, and how those collectively give consumers more information. ‘If you want to employ someone or you want to buy a product, the first thing you do is ‘Google it’.’

What have you enjoyed most about working in this industry? 

Gullan finds that this is one of the few industries where no two days are the same – there is always an opportunity to learn something new, no matter how long one has been in the business. ‘I also love the people I have met along my journey – the curious minds and the quirky personalities – and to produce some really amazing work with these people.

Keys to success

‘An inquiring mind, and commitment to continuous learning and determination, because this is not an industry for the faint of heart. You have to have passion, grit and determination if you want to succeed.’

Watch the rest of of the interview below, where Gullan discusses his hobbies and interests, advertising industry trends, and advice on executing a successful campaign.

Gullan’s favourite ad was the Johnson & Johnson campaign where G&G Digital strategised, designed and implemented a digital platform to engage with the dental industry on an ongoing basis to achieve, and even surpass, the success of the previous sales team.


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New ABSA Campaign Inspired By The Distinctly African Way To Get Things Done

ABSA Retail and Business Banking (Absa RBB) has launched its new retail TV commercial (TVC) campaign, inspired by the distinctly African way to get things done through a combination of tenacity and ingenuity.

The campaign celebrates the ‘I Can’ spirit of many South Africans who are displaying grit and determination to get things done during these difficult times, which is what Africanacity is all about. ‘I Can’ is a positive affirmation; the can-do-spirit embodied by all Africans. It says that ABSA RBB is ready to help customers preserve what they have worked for and to help them rebuild so they can bring their possibilities to life. 

The creative campaign required the creative storytelling vision of a director, who brought the words on paper to life. Zee Ntuli, a multiple award-winning filmmaker and commercials director with Darling Films, was selected from some of the finest in the commercials business to bring his distinctive talents to the production. 

Creativity and strong leadership on all fronts played a big role in getting the new campaign off the ground, as there were many unforeseen issues and challenges that needed to be overcome. Once the ball was rolling, it was a race against time to get the campaign completed while chasing an incredibly tight deadline to produce a television commercial that all parties were happy with. 

Agency creative director, Ntokozo Tshabalala commented, ‘What the public is seeing today is an idea that seeks to capture Absa Retail and Business Banking’s commitment to their clients and customers. The broader team worked tirelessly behind the scenes to understand what South Africans want to achieve in life and to provide banking products and services that enable more people to get things done in these tough times. We needed to communicate the key features of numerous Absa banking product and service offerings that would show people how Absa is there for them. We tell a number of human stories that most South Africans can relate to.’

Ntuli added, ‘I had a fantastic time working with exciting creatives on this campaign. Shooting within Covid-19 regulations naturally posed some difficulties and challenges, especially regarding access to locations and time-consuming hurdles. However thanks to our exceptional team and crew, these hurdles were easily overcome. Working with the client and agency, we managed to pull off an ad which I think will resonate with consumers.’

The TVC wasn’t the only piece of work the agency team were tasked with delivering in a short space of time under restricting conditions. The team had to truly live up to the spirit of Africanacity by displaying loads of ingenuity, tenacity, creativity and the willingness to get multiple things, aside from this particular production, done.

‘As a part of the project management team, I had to ensure this particular project and all the ongoing strategic and creative work in the system continued as planned. We couldn’t afford to get side-tracked by the numerous tasks associated with a large production. We needed to remain disciplined and committed to making sure that the production deadlines were met as well as that all the other important work that came before and after the TVC, were all on track,’ said Zahrah Stoltenkamp, agency project manager, VMLY&R. Despite the many challenges that came with working under Covid-19 restrictions, the campaign launch was a success. 

How Do You Engage Customers Through To Point Of Sale And Beyond?

Dev Naidoo from New Media and Leo Redelinghuys from Swipe iX.

According to Dev Naidoo from New Media and Leo Redelinghuys, Content Marketing Institute research indicates that B2B marketers are doing well when it comes to educating and growing awareness but are struggling with building lasting relationships and building the bottom line. The rise of digital has resulted in an ever-increasing wave of competition to reach audiences, be they business or consumer.

There are millions of companies buying products and services in South Africa. While B2B marketing has its own methods, it pays to remember there is a real person making those business decisions. So how do we engage customers through to point of sale and beyond?

1. Data

Like everyone else, the B2B buyer is going digital-first. An IDC study found that 75% of B2B buyers and eight out of 10 C-level execs use social media to make purchasing decisions. That is great, but remember: when posting content, B2B brands are not only competing against other business accounts but also against personal accounts. So we only have a small window for our target audience to see and, more importantly, engage with our content. The key metrics, such as when our target audience is online and what type of content yields the highest engagement rate, will determine what to push and when. This data is critical.

Another opportunity is ensuring maximum discoverability by means of a proper SEO strategy. Digitalisation has made many B2B buyers turn to Google for product and service information, and data comes into play here too.

2. Authenticity

According to Marc Mathieu, the former senior VP of marketing at Unilever, marketing used to be about creating a myth and selling it, but now it is about finding a truth and sharing it. This is as true in the B2B sector as it is in the consumer realm. The open dialogue that marketing has become demands that we build our brand into a platform that our audience trusts. 

3. Usefulness 

That authentic platform must serve audiences information that is useful and relevant to them. B2B customers are particularly focused on return on investment, so the stakes are high. They are looking for expertise and for facts about products so that they make the right purchasing decisions on behalf of their business. It is a big responsibility that we should bear in mind.

 4. Quality

Bombarding B2B buyers with stock-standard content or a sales pitch will lead to them losing interest very quickly. So we have to be wary of using data to fulfil the urge to become breaking news providers. This would place accuracy of information or quality of editorial at risk of compromise. It is not about getting there first; it is about leaving a lasting impression.

5. Innovation 

The onset of Covid-19 made B2B marketers realise we had to find new socially distanced methods of engaging with our customers. Webinars, for example, have been around for a while but might not have had the growth they have experienced were it not for the lockdown. We now know that a well-planned webinar with engaging content will attract attendance and participation.

6. E-commerce 

One of the best ways to affect the bottom line is to close the loop in terms of the actual transaction. Instead of focusing on just generating great content as a method of marketing, we should shift to driving business to the transaction – without becoming salespeople.

According to Forbes, B2B e-commerce is likely to be the largest area of e-commerce growth from 2020 to 2025. But we cannot sacrifice the storytelling aspect of B2B marketing to this goal. It is a tricky line to straddle, but we can do it with the digital tools available to all content marketers today. 

The future of content marketing is bright. There is a reason Seth Godin calls it ‘the only marketing left’. It is authentic, useful and perfectly suited to the internet generation. In the B2B arena, an established brand that regularly delivers trusted content will always attract the right audience. And we now have access to data that can ensure what we generate and serve to audiences, no matter how niche, is delivering ROI.


Use The Right Tools To Understand How Different Channels Lead To Conversion

Grant Lapping, Managing Director at DataCore Media, says it is easy to fixate on the wrong data, to misinterpret what the data means, or to use the wrong tools for the job.

Marketers know that a customer’s journey from their first exposure to the brand to a conversion event will generally involve a number of touchpoints along the way. The trick is to be able to understand the role that each of these channels and touchpoints played in the desired outcome of the customer making a final purchase.

Yet accurately attributing credit for sales and conversions to the different channels and touchpoints used in a campaign can be problematic, despite the advanced and rapidly improving tools available to marketers.

Here are some of the most common attribution pitfalls we have observed in the market:  

Mistake 1: taking Google Analytics web traffic data at face value  

Many marketers use Google Analytics web traffic data as the primary tool for measuring campaign success. But too few of them dig deep enough into the data to get a complete picture of the journey. Instead, they simply attribute success to the final touchpoint – for example, a person first visits a site from a Facebook advert and then comes back later and converts via a Google Search. Analytics will only give credit to Google and discard the original source being Facebook. 

In reality, to fully understand which digital channels are delivering the most value, you have to look at the full customer journey leading to a conversion, which usually involves multiple touchpoints. Thus, relying only on Google Analytics will give you a skewed view of performance since it will generally favour lower funnel channels such as search over brand awareness campaigns. 

Mistake 2: overcounting conversions from tags  

It is easy to put tags in place on programmatic platforms, including Google and social media channels. You can use tags to measure post-view and post-click data, solving the problem of missing times the customer was exposed to the brand without clicking through to the website. For instance, you could credit an ad with the conversion if a person converted within 30 days of clicking through.

When it comes to views, you would use a shorter timeframe, perhaps 24 hours. If the person sees the ad, and converts within 24 hours without clicking through, the ad can still be credited with the sale. But there is a danger of overcounting conversions because different platforms and media sources in a conversion path might claim the credit. 

The Facebook tag might count 100 conversions, of which only 20 were last in the conversion path and 80 were earlier. Four other media sources with tags may also claim credit for the conversions. If each is given full credit for the conversion, you are effectively counting five conversions for a single sale.

Mistake 3: errors in assisted conversions in analytics 

Marketers can use the filtering tools in Google Analytics to look at the channels along every conversion path and the number of conversions attributed to every path. A conversion path might follow the route described above: Facebook ad, display, organic search, paid search. You can easily see that there were 10 media channels within one conversion path.

Yet, you will still encounter two significant challenges. Firstly, the customer might not visit the website during early exposures to the brand such as when viewing an online video or engaging on social media. Secondly, it is difficult to allocate credit to the role each channel played in conversion. As with mistake 2, there is a danger of overcounting conversions if multiple traffic sources in the conversion are all granted equal credit. 

For brands with larger budgets, premium media can be tracked in the same way as Google or social via ad-serving tools such as DoubleClick Campaign Manager or Sizmek. This gives you more power to track the role of every source that delivered a visit to the website in converting a customer. The easiest solution for a smaller business is to refer to assisted conversions within Google Analytics and assign a value to first, middle and end conversions. Be careful, however, not to give every channel equal credit as it will lead to an overcount of total conversions.

Mistake 4: putting too much faith in post-view conversions on re-marketing campaigns

Post-view data from an agency or a programmatic platform can sometimes overinflate the metrics for a campaign. For example, if you have a scenario where 1000 people visit your site in one day to do trip research and of those 10 people return within 24 hours to make a booking, it would be considered normal consumer behaviour since people tend to do research on multiple sites before converting.

The challenge is that when you are using re-marketing, a large portion of those 1000 people are likely to see an ad while they continue their research. With post view conversion data, the re-marketing platform will claim credit for all 10 bookings as they can claim it’s logical to get credit given they made a booking within 24 hours of seeing the ad. They are, however, ignoring that those people were already looking to book based on an earlier research visit to the website. This is a much stronger indicator of intent to book than seeing an ad that they did not click. We find that this is often not considered when evaluating the performance of a re-marketing campaign and creates a false view of success. 

Mistake 5: not having the right tools and models to correctly credit traffic sources for conversions

Many marketers lack a model for valuing the contribution of each traffic source in their conversion paths. They don’t use the available technology to make sense of the data, limiting their ability to optimise campaign decisions. Yet the cost of these tools is relatively low compared to their potential to help a brand reduce wasted spend and improve return on investment by spending on the right channels.  

Larger companies will find it worthwhile to invest in higher-end solutions like Bionic, Zapier, Adinton and the Google premium offerings (Analytics360, DoubleClick Campaign Manager and DoubleClick Search). They enable brands with multimillion-rand campaigns to make more informed optimisation decisions.  

Some of the functionality from the top-end tools might include the ability to integrate digital campaign data with CRM platforms to offer a more complete view of the journey, including offline conversion events from digital marketing, or functionality to model and weight the role each touchpoint played in conversion. 

Adinton, for example, measures visitor engagement during each website visit and uses an algorithm to determine the relative contribution of each traffic source to the outcome. If there are five sources claiming credit, the solution can tell you that based on the level of engagement the tool tracked for each visit, the first should get 20%, the second 10%, and so on. You can use this data to determine in which media platforms you are over and underinvesting.

Attribution is key for ROI

Attribution is a complex discipline and requires some investment in terms of time and money. But the alternative is to spend marketing and advertising budget inefficiently. Using the right tools to understand how different channels lead to conversion enables you to get the best possible ROI from your spend at a time when most brands need to optimise costs as far as possible.


Tips For Creating Engaging Content

Zubeida Goolam, co-founder and creative partner at Brandtruth//DGTL, discusses the apps and other technologies available to create engaging content.

With well over 100 days of a nationwide lockdown, can this still be considered the new way of life, given that it is likely to last for the foreseeable future? With locals adjusting to work-from-home or more likely a sleep-at-work lifestyle, it has become more apparent that the online landscape has grown in scope and usage times.

According to AskAfrica, a market research intelligence company, up to 87% of South Africans continue to engage on social media at least once a day.  Given this increase in online activity, a feed refresh becomes imperative in any strategy to ensure that one’s content calendar is consistently updated with engaging, authentic and relatable posts that satiate the growing consumer need to hit that like button. 

Inspiration and curation

The first step towards great content is ensuring you have the tools to plan well. Feedly is a great free tool to gather and filter content from all over the web to serve as inspiration and update you on the latest trends. You add your favourite content pages, YouTube channels and blogs, and all new updates get carefully curated and compiled for you to easily access and reference. 

The free app Pocket is another service for managing articles and videos. Add any piece of content to your personal Pocket App to save it for later. It is accessible across devices, easy to send or share content to social media, email or a friend’s Pocket, and everything you save can be viewed offline – perfect for times when you don’t have internet access. 

After reading up on trends and gathering inspiration, Evernote is a free content creation tool, allowing you to capture ideas and inspiration in notes, voice and pictures and sync with your connected devices. 

If you are still stuck for content ideas, Blog Topic Generator is a handy and fun tool to help inspire your creativity. By inserting a few keywords that you’d like to talk about, the site automatically generates some suggested ideas, and it only takes a minute.

Aesthetic and impact

As many South Africans have started new business ventures during the nationwide lockdown, it is imperative to understand the key elements of any good social feed: aesthetic and authenticity. Creating a look and feel that is synonymous with a username and brand is borderline the basic rule in online resonance.

While photo editing and video design may seem like it can take years to master, a little well-known trick is presets. A preset is an already designed filter that can be readily applied to any content to instantly brighten, steady and adjust potential posts. Lightroom offers a variety of presets built for multiple types of industry material including food, beauty, nature and portrait.

Affordable alternatives to consider are Touch Retouch, Enlight Pixalloop and VSCO – all of which are smartphone app-based, allowing for a seamless transition between a snap, edit and upload. 

For video content, VideoShow is one of the best free Android apps available. It is easy to use, reliable and user-friendly. In addition to the essential functions, you can also add text, music, sound effects and perform live dubbing.

Spotify reports that podcast consumption hours on the platform have increased by a massive 250% year over year. If you would like to move into the world of audio content, you should investigate the Anchor app. Anchor is a free audio tool, allowing you to easily create both video and audio recordings to share on social media. 

Cloud your content

One of the easiest mistakes, and one that may haunt a post forever (or until it is forcefully deleted), is incorrect grammar. This instantly reduces credibility and it is the sustenance that internet trolls live off. Given that some content will be directly posted from a smartphone, the only failsafe here is said smartphone’s autocorrect, as most social media platforms do not have spell-check capabilities.

A recommendation would be to use Google Drive, OneDrive or any other cloud-based storage system. This makes content accessible from multiple devices – allowing traceable collaboration – saves mobile storage and also safeguards an accidental ‘delete’ when one purges their gallery after a lockdown breakdown. With Google Drive, creators have access to Docs, which should be where all captions are housed and screened, reducing the risk of typos. Extending on this, Grammarly is available as a free add-on to Google Docs, further helping improve on sentence construction.

Everyone loves to consume content, but making it engaging takes skill and the right tools. They say a content creator’s job is never done. That is because their consumer-base is always eager for more. Now isn’t that in itself an opportunity?


Steps To Improve Customer Engagement Through Marketing Automation

According to Filip von Reiche, Senior Vice President, Enablement Services at Acceleration, automating your marketing processes enables you to reduce the time your team spends on repetitive, low-value tasks, improve customer engagement across multiple channels, and ultimately, get a better return on investment from your spending.

Here are eight steps you can take to streamline your business via marketing automation.

1. Know your audience 

If you have been running your business for a while, you will already have data about which products or services they respond best to, which channels they engage with most, and when they tend to interact with and purchase from you. This information will help you to determine your ideal audience, products or services, and campaign timing.

Ideally, you want to start with the audiences, services, and/or product lines that are your primary focus areas and that will generate the most business for you. This is a great experimental opportunity to fine-tune your approaches before taking on more complicated niches. In other words, start with what you know before moving on to areas where you might have less experience or know-how. 

2. Plan where to meet your audience

Based on what you know about your audience, you’ll be able to outline how you need to (or plan to) meet them as they interact with you – from the initial point that they hear about you, to the points at which you gain their interest, close a sale, offer post-purchase support, and, hopefully, secure further purchases.

There are several components that may need to be considered during this step, including:

  • Consumer experience (CX): this relates to the principles, feelings or emotions that you want the consumer to associate with your brand.
  • Journey design: This involves the types of interactions you have with your consumers and the ideal path following each interaction.
  • In-moment design: this is more specific to key moments and events where you respond to your consumer.

Some of the key elements to consider in this plan are:

  • How are you going to interact with your audience (marketing channels)?
  • What is the right conversation to have with them (content)?
  • When is the right time to introduce an offer (recency/frequency)?
  • What is the right offer for them (offer management)?
  • When do you need to back off?

3. Organise and enhance your data

This step involves making sure that you have the right data to identify your audience and collecting the right signals from your audience to know when and how to engage with them. This might involve various actions such as reorganising or performing some hygiene on your data. You might also find that you have missing pieces of data or that you have not yet connected your data sources together.

Carrying out these processes could be a project on its own. There are many services available to help you define a data strategy, physically manage your data, enhance it, perform identity services, and make it production-ready. At this point, including data governance, security, and privacy management data will also provide opportunities for futureproofing and scalability. 

4. Ready your platforms and tools

This is the stage where your research, plans and data all come together. There are hundreds of automation options to choose from. Peers, online communities, market researchers and analysts like Gartner and Forrester, and martech consulting firms can all help you ensure the best fit for your company, based on your specific needs, audience, budget and future roadmap. 

5. Organise your operations and team

Everyone should know what they need to do and how – in other words, you need an action plan to ensure your team knows how to function to achieve your objectives. Outside of the initial assets and processes needed to get started, there might be a range of experiments that you want to test in smaller cycles before you release them as part of your greater marketing engine. Ensure that your team members are clear on the vision and are organised to work together on achieving that vision. 

6. Put an analytics framework in place

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. If you do all this work, but don’t know how it is contributing to your business, how do you substantiate the work, effort, and money spent on all these tasks? How can you be confident that the programme performed or understand where and how to optimise it? 

More importantly, how can you request a budget increase to achieve even greater success going forward, if you can’t demonstrate the success you have achieved to date? Once again, there is fortunately a wide range of tools and services to help you set up and manage your analytics framework. 

7. Get started

Thinking, planning and talking about all these initiatives is great, but putting them into action is better. If you are unsure where ‘near to perfect’ might be for you, defining a roadmap of key milestones you want to grow or optimise is great. This will help you to stay on track in your efforts to achieve your ideal marketing automation engine.

8. Analyse and optimise

It is important to understand how customers are responding based on your available initiatives and analytics. You will then need to come up with fresh ideas to further or better engage them. From this point, you can test different channels to reach your customers by tweaking timing, content and offers. 

If you are building out a new marketing automation strategy or you need to reinvigorate your existing one, the steps above will help you get started. These steps might seem simple but if they’re well-executed, they can help you scale in leaps and bounds.


Brand Price Versus Customer Relations

Louise Hefer, Business Unit Manager at The MediaShop.

In this piece by Louise Hefer, Business Unit Manager at The MediaShop, she says that consumer needs and decision-making processes don’t vary from when the consumers they buy something from the formal sector to when they buy from the informal sector.

I was driving past an informal settlement not so long ago. The vibrant energy that emits from the sidewalks is tangible with the hustle and bustle of street vendors and people going about their daily tasks.

What I always find interesting is the close proximity of each hawker to one another. In this case, I was looking at four hawkers selling similar items ranging from fresh fruits, peanuts and amagwinya to skopas (my personal favourite) while sitting roughly two metres apart from each other. This made me wonder: in such a close proximity, how do you ensure a person buys your product over someone else’s, especially when there’s no real differentiation? 

Normally in cases like this, we are quick to look at international case studies and best practices. We call on the big brands like Nike, Apple and Amazon to help us navigate and look at how they might approach certain scenarios. We don’t necessarily always notice what is right on our doorstep, pulling insights from people that sit right next to us or that we might come in contact with.

I believe there are a lot of lessons we can apply across the board, instead of always referring to international best practices. It is important to speak to a few people to try and get some understanding of the dynamics when engaging in such a scenario. 

When looking at the hawker scenario, most of the time the starting price for any product is the same between the four different hawkers. So, what then makes a person buy from the one and not the other? It basically boils down to two factors: the quality of the product (especially when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables), and the relationship with the hawker. We can easily translate this scenario into any environment where consumers have to make purchase decisions. 

The quality of a product over another has a huge impact on the decision-making process, especially when money is tight. The product needs to deliver on every cent spent and ensures it does not disappoint. Moving from functional delivery to emotional delivery, the relationship a person has with a brand is another important factor to keep in mind. If they feel comfortable with what you are saying and how you are making them feel, they’ll naturally gravitate towards you without thinking about it too much. Yes, price will always play a factor, but we shouldn’t discount (see what I did there?) the actual product and relationships.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you know there is no real differentiation in the product you offer compared to your closest competitor, and there is no room for improvement on product quality, the last and ultimate chance you might have with a person is based on your relationship with them. Do they like what you are saying and how you are saying it? Do they feel comfortable in your presence and is there a sense of trust? If you manage to get this right, there is little that anyone else can do to break that bond.


Pushing The Virtual Boundaries Of Brand Experience

Shaune Jordaan, Hoorah Digital CEO, says the time is now to think and to prepare accordingly, or risk being left behind in a world that is increasingly embracing augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR).

For years, reality was simply what was real. Today, it can still be that – but it can also be augmented, virtual or mixed, all very exciting forms of a different reality that is shaping our lives and transforming businesses around the globe. 

Take note too that these realities don’t belong to some distant future that won’t affect your brand or business. The application frontiers have already found a foothold in fields such as gaming and events, with healthcare, insurance, retail, education and live entertainment steadily joining the ranks of sectors set to be transformed by these capabilities going forward. 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, understood as the ongoing automaton of manufacturing and industrial practices using smart technology, is with us, and clearly here to stay. Consequently, experts predict that AR/VR/MR will have one of the most profound effects on all facets of human existence, and for good reason.

Research conducted by Zappar found that AR delivers a 45% higher level of visual attention than TV, while research by Oracle suggests that 61% of companies using virtual or augmented reality have boosted customer satisfaction metrics as a result. What’s more, 84% of companies agreed that the virtual and augmented reality experiences they offer over the next five years will have a bigger impact on CX metrics than experiences in the physical world.

So while it is clear that AR/VR/MR is here to stay, how can businesses go about navigating this new normal? Firstly, it is important for businesses to understand that AR/VR/MR is not a goal in itself. So forget about a utopian (or dystopian, depending on your disposition) world, and rather focus on what it realistically means for different types and sizes of organisations. Because today AR/VR/MRI is less about sci-fi and more about solutions. So whether your business objective is to delight customers or improve operational efficiencies, the point is to always apply it as a solution to optimise and improve aspects of your operations. 

Examples of augmented reality experiences include Snapchat lenses and the game Pokémon GO, while virtual reality implies a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world. Using VR devices such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard, users can be transported into a number of real-world and imagined environments, from the midst of a squawking penguin colony to riding on the back of a dragon. In a mixed reality (MR) experience, which combines elements of both AR and VR, real-world and digital objects interact. Mixed reality technology is just now starting to take off, with Microsoft’s HoloLens one of the most notable early mixed reality apparatuses.

History was made recently when Formula 1 launched their first-ever full VR race complete with real F1 drivers and commentary. Similarly, the world’s leading brands are using AR and VR in increasingly innovative ways, like with this virtual sneaker try-on: 

Other fun examples include Oreo’s Facebook augmented reality game:

As with any other new or unfamiliar process, tool or system, it is important to get fully acquainted with the details of AR/VR/MR. No one is expecting you to be an expert, but definitely ensure your functional understanding is sufficient to ensure you can ask the right questions.

It is an evolving capability, so staying informed and maintaining an interest in these technologies and applications, and how they pertain to your business, is key. Similarly, ensure that you are clear on the value of AR/VR/MR, and how these relate to your overarching business goals. Much like big data, which doesn’t have a value in and of itself unless it is analysed, interpreted and applied, AR/VR/MR must have a clear purpose in order to be useful.

AR/VR/MR is a specialist field. And while the IT team might know more about it than the finance team, it remains a sub-specialisation that, if you are serious about it, requires the knowledge, experience and expertise of those who have chosen to study it. Skip the shortcuts, because they are always more expensive and time-consuming in the long run.

Just this year, partly thanks to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the embracing and adoption of this new technology has been exponentially accelerated through the absolute need to continue to function. That is a good and very exciting thing for brands and businesses, and especially for people.

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